Tuesday, April 30, 2019

William Joseph Parker (1904-1938): Bigamist Came to a Tragic End

Idella Scott Franklin married William Joseph Parker on 20 April 1928 in Hopewell, Virginia. They separated on 9 February 1931 and Idella was granted an absolute divorce decree on 30 March 1938 by the Richmond City Circuit Court. They had no children. The reason Idella sued for the divorce was desertion and bigamy.

The back of the divorce decree had the following handwritten information:

Idella Scott Franklin Parker and William Joseph Parker divorce decree;
courtesy of Ancestry.com

"This man was indicted in Pennsylvania on complaint from his wife for having married another woman in 1931 in Elkton, Maryland, and is also wanted in Maryland to answer charges there. This marriage took place after the desertion from the first wife."

Twelve days later William was dead. According to his death certificate, hee committed suicide by drinking ink solvent in Berks Prison.

William Joseph Parker obituary as published in
the Richmond Times-Dispatch on 14 April 1938;
courtesy of the Library of Virginia

William's parents were Joseph John Parker and Magnolia "Nolia" Melison Clayton. He was born in Belhaven, North Carolina, on 15 May 1904.

He was also married to Marian Ulshafer, daughter of Ralph Ulshafer and Rose Kirk. She was born on 3 October 1910 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She and William had one son. Was this the marriage that took place in Elkton, Maryland?

I have assumed he was in prison because he had been arrested for bigamy. Was that the reason he committed suicide?

Idella Scott Franklin was my third cousin once removed. We both descend from John W. Jennings, Sr. (1776-1858). John W. Jennings, Sr. >> John William Jennings, Jr. >> John Arias Jennings >> Maude Florence Jennings >> Idella Scott Franklin

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